Member States’ vision for renovating the EU building stock not aligned with the urgency to address the energy and climate crisis

Brussels, 25 October 2022 – Today, the Council of the European Union adopted its general approach (GA) on the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) as part of the ‘Fit for 55’ legislative package to put the Union on track with the 2030 and 2050 climate neutrality targets.

Leading businesses commenting on the general approach adopted by the Council underline that achieving an energy efficient and sustainable building stock is critical for the EU to tackle today’s energy and climate crisis, worsened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The building sector is the first EU energy consumer, thus the revision of the EPBD is a key opportunity to accelerate the very low annual building renovation rates, as only 1% of EU buildings undergo energy renovations each year.

Despite the huge role building renovations have in the EU energy transition, the European Alliance to Save Energy underlines that the Council’s vision on the revision of the EPBD is not consistent with the 2030 target for the Union to reduce at least 55% of GHG emissions, nor effective in achieving the REPowerEU goal to tackle today’s dependency on imported fossil fuels. According to the Renovation Wave strategy, the EU must at least double the current annual building renovation rates and foster deep energy retrofits, aiming at renovating 35 million building units by 2030. This target cannot be achieved with the Council’s envisioned system for Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS).

EU-ASE believes that decoupling MEPS from energy classes is not a reliable mechanism to ensure that buildings become more performing overtime, while EPCs and energy classes are already mandatory in all Member States. On the contrary, EPCs should be harmonised and reinforced. In addition, EU-ASE regrets that the Council position does not support an EU-MEPS system, preferring national renovation trajectories which should aim to deliver the ‘Zero Emission Building (ZEB) objective, but without clear compliance mechanisms after 2034 for private non-residential buildings and after 2033 for residential buildings. 

Finally, it is matter of concern that Member States may choose not to apply MEPS in single family houses in favour of an approach based on renovation trigger points based on a sell or a rental contract, which would unacceptably keep millions of EU citizens living in inefficient buildings, thus worsening energy poverty.  

Monica Frassoni, President of the Alliance, said: While recognising the efforts made by the Presidency of the Council to maintain the Zero Emission Buildings’ vision by 2050, it is evident that without a clear strategy to trigger scalable energy renovations in buildings, thousands of Europeans will keep on living in energy poverty conditions. An EPBD that is ‘fit for 55%’ means ambitious minimum energy performance standards that cover the renovation of all EU buildings so that they become Zero Emissions by 2050 at the latest.”

While the Council adopted its General Approach, the European Parliament is still negotiating compromise amendments on the Commission’s proposal which should be voted in the ITRE committee on November 29. Inter-institutional negotiations should therefore start during the first quarter of 2023.

Finally, EU-ASE welcomes the declaration proposal formulated by France and supported by Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland to push for greater ambition regarding minimum energy performance standards during inter-institutional negotiations with the Parliament.

You can find here the position of EU-ASE on the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

Read the PDF version of our press release here.

 

Media contact:
Antoan Montignier
+32 499 84 97 28
antoan.montignier@euase.eu

About us
The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) is a cross-sectoral, business-led organisation that ensures that the voice of energy efficiency is heard across Europe. EU-ASE members have operations across the 27 Member States of the European Union, employ over 340.000 people in Europe and have an aggregated annual turnover of €115 billion.

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Think Efficiency first to address the energy and climate crisis

More than 20 organisations join EU-ASE in an open letter addressed to the EU negotiators revising the Energy Efficiency Directive. It calls for an effective implementation of the Energy Efficiency First principle in all of the EU, national and local policy, planning and investment projects regardless of the size of investments.

With the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), the EU Institutions are due to agree in trialogue negotiations on provisions that introduce in the regulatory framework the implementation of the “Energy Efficiency First” Principle.

This letter, co-signed by European business organisations, housing associations and NGOs, calls on the EED negotiators to agree on applying the principle without monetary thresholds that could rule out its application in many local projects having an impact on the energy system, therefore missing the potential energy efficiency can have for the economy, society and the climate. 

Read the full letter here

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Open letter to EU Energy Ministers on the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive

The European Alliance to Save Energy sent a letter addressing the EU-27 energy and climate Ministers, ahead of the Energy Council meeting on 27 June.

The Russian military invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated the energy crisis and urged EU governments action to reduce soaring energy prices. As adopted in the Versailles Declaration by the European Council and as proposed by the European Commission in the REPowerEU plan, an ambitious revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive is critical to first and foremost reduce Europe’s energy demand.

Following the application of the Energy Efficiency First principle, improving energy efficiency across all sectors goes hand in hand with the replacement of fossil fuel solutions by cleaner, renewable energy sources. By reducing energy demand and optimising the full energy system through the reduction of peak demand, energy efficiency allows to reduce the need for investments in new generation, transmission and distribution systems, and thereby also ultimately reducing the costs passed onto consumers.

Read the full letter here

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Response to the Commission’s consultation on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

The The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback to the expost consultation on the EPBD revision.

Together with the rest of the ‘Fit for 55’ legislative ecosystem, the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is crucial to address challenges the European Union is facing: the climate emergency, the soaring energy prices and the European dependency on fossil fuels from third countries. In this document, EU-ASE reacts to the Commission’s proposal to revise the EPBD and proposes recommendations to align the Directive with the EU’s climatic and energy objectives for 2030 and 2050.

 

Download the full response

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New survey shows high support in Europe for energy efficient homes

A survey conducted by YouGov in four European countries finds extensive public support for new regulations to increase energy savings in homes.

Commissioned by the European Climate Foundation, this polling reveals that people in the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and Spain want to buy and rent energy-efficient homes.

The survey enquired people looking to rent or buy a property in the next five years. Data show that not only renters and homeowners value energy-efficient properties because they cut energy bills and they are better for the environment, but both agree on the need for regulation aimed at reducing the impact of buildings on climate change.

Some highlights from the survey include:

  • 89% of respondents said that it is overall important for them to buy or rent a property that is energy efficient
  • Yet, the current housing stock is not meeting this demand, with 64% of people saying that there are not enough energy efficient properties available on the market
  • 72% said they would support a policy that required all newly built homes to be well insulated and with clean heating systems
  • Two-thirds of respondents (66%) said that they would support a law that requires existing homes to meet minimum energy standards, with subsidies for affordable improvements standing out as the top incentive that would help citizens deliver on this policy. Support was highest in Spain (75%) and Italy (72%)
  • The respondents who indicated support said this because the policy will reduce exposure to high energy prices (60%) and help combat climate change (59%)
  • 85% said that Energy Performance Certificatesare useful

Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE), said:

“This survey shows that energy efficiency is not just one of the tools in the decarbonisation kit, but a clear priority for citizens across Europe. Especially after the recent hike in energy prices, people are willing to renovate their homes, they just need the right technical and financial support. This is the perfect time for the EU and its Member States to accelerate the pace of renovations with ambitious legislation, including mandatory Minimum Energy Performance Standards, and adequate resources. The results will be great for citizens, the economy and the environment.”

Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public Affairs of Signify & Chairperson of EU-ASE, said:

“We all know this needs to be the decade of building renovations in Europe. The fact that citizens are highly supportive of this agenda must be an inspiration for policymakers at EU and national level, starting from the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. Businesses are ready to play their part and support the wave of high-quality renovations for all buildings. This will help Europe to deliver on its climate goals while providing more energy efficient and comfortable homes, as well as public and private sector buildings.”

 

More information on the survey results

 

About us
The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) aims to advance the energy efficiency agenda in the European Union. The Alliance allows world’s leading multinational companies to join environmental campaigners and a cross-party group of Members of the European Parliament. EU-ASE business members have operations across the 27 Member States of the European Union, employ over 340.000 people in Europe and have an aggregated annual turnover of €115 billion.

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